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Paul on Marriage and Celibacy : The Hellenistic Background of 1 Corinthians 7 :  The Hellenistic Background of 1 Corinthians 7 - Deming

Paul on Marriage and Celibacy : The Hellenistic Background of 1 Corinthians 7

The Hellenistic Background of 1 Corinthians 7

By: Deming

Paperback Published: November 2003
ISBN: 9780802839893
Number Of Pages: 271

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Foreword by Raymond F. Collins Paul is traditionally seen as one of the founders of Christian sexual asceticism. As early as the second century C.E. church leaders looked to him as a model for their lives of abstinence. But is this a correct reading of Paul? What exactly did Paul teach on the subjects of marriage and celibacy? Will Deming here answers these questions -- often in provocative new ways. By placing Paul's statements on marriage and celibacy against the backdrop of ancient Hellenistic society, Deming constructs a coherent picture of Paul's views. He shows that the conceptual world in which Paul lived and wrote had substantially vanished by 100 C.E., and terms like "sin," "body," "sex," and "holiness" began to acquire moral implications quite unlike those Paul knew. Paul conceived of marriage as asocial obligation that had the potential of distracting Christians fromChrist. For him, celibacy was the single life, free from such distraction, not a life of saintly denial. Sex, in turn, was not sinful but natural, and sex within marriage was both proper and necessary.

Jouette Bassler
"What a boon to have this landmark study published in a new, updated edition! This guarantees that the debate over the nature and meaning of Christian asceticism and celibacy will continue to benefit from Will Deming's meticulous arguments and sound conclusions."

John T. Fitzgerald
"In this revised edition of his stimulating monograph on 1 Corinthians 7, Will Deming responds to his critics and continues to dismantle the traditional and widespread depiction of Paul as a founding father of Christian asceticism. Making a clear and convincing distinction between sexual asceticism and celibacy, Deming insists that neither Paul nor the Corinthians were ascetics and that the hermeneutical key to understanding their dialogue was the Stoic-Cynic debate about the advantages and disadvantages of marriage. Grounding his treatment in the philosophical texts of the Hellenistic world and using them to illumine Paul's assumptions and arguments, Deming demonstrates that Paul was intimately aware of the moralist traditions of his day and of the conflicting views on marriage held by philosophers. An indispensable contribution for anyone interested not only in Paul but also in Hellenistic discussions of the family and marriage."

Hans-Josef Klauck
"Will Deming has done a real service to scholarship by providing clear definitions of concepts such as ascetism and celibacy in the first century C.E. and by producing an extended overview of the debate on marriage and celibacy in ancient Stoicism and Cynicism. A fresh reading of 1 Corinthians 7 against this background (without overlooking the apocalyptic elements in 7:29-31) shows a surprising coherence and consistency in Paul's argument. Advanced students and scholars will also appreciate the book's appendixes, which present two important but barely accessible source texts both in Greek and, for the first time, in a reliable English translation. No serious student of 1 Corinthians, of Paul, or of the ethical discourse in early Christianity should ignore this important study. "

J. Paul Sampley
"Will Deming's carefully reasoned interpretation of all of 1 Corinthians 7 (rather than just selected verses) within the context of the contemporary Cynic and Stoic discussions of marriage and its responsibilities overturns a long-standing nostrum in the history of interpretation and should make his readers uneasy about using the terms ascetic or asceticism to describe Paul or this biblical text. Deming's book enhances our understanding of Paul and the world in which he and his original readers lived."

Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Deming's fine work is a welcome corrective to much of 20th century scholarship on 1 Corinthians 7 and the book is a pleasure to read."

Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Preface to the Second Editionp. xiv
Abbreviationsp. xvi
Introductionp. xix
The Motivation for Celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7: A Review of Scholarly Opinionp. 1
Paul in the Light of Stoic and Cynic Materialsp. 2
Motivations for Celibacy from Hellenistic Judaismp. 6
Asceticism and Revelationp. 6
Asceticism as Marriage to Sophiap. 8
Motivations for Celibacy from First-Century Christianityp. 12
A Sociological Approachp. 12
Fear and Confusion as the Cause of Celibacyp. 12
Secondary Christological Motivationsp. 15
Enthusiasm and Realized Eschatologyp. 17
The Use of Second-, Third-, and Fourth-Century Sourcesp. 28
General Considerationsp. 28
1 Corinthians 7 as a Case of Gnostic Asceticismp. 30
Spiritual Marriagesp. 35
Conclusionp. 43
Addendump. 44
The Stoic-Cynic Marriage Debatep. 47
Issues and Dynamics in the Stoic-Cynic Marriage Debatep. 48
The Fifth to the Third Century B.C.E.p. 58
Anaxagoras, Antiphon, Democritusp. 58
Xenophonp. 59
Early Cynicsp. 60
The Academy, the Peripatetics, and Epicurusp. 61
Early Stoicsp. 64
The Second to the First Century B.C.E.p. 66
Antipater of Tarsus and Ocellus Lucanusp. 66
Cynic Epistlesp. 67
Arius and Cicerop. 70
The First to the Middle of the Second Century C.E.p. 73
Senecap. 73
Musonius Rufusp. 75
Quintilian, Theon, and Dio Chrysostomp. 76
Hierocles the Stoic and Epictetusp. 78
The Middle of the Second Century and Beyondp. 84
First-Century Judaism and Early Christianityp. 86
Philo of Alexandriap. 87
Pseudo-Phocylides and Josephusp. 93
The New Testamentp. 94
Second- and Third-Century Christian Apologistsp. 97
Clement of Alexandriap. 98
Tertullianp. 101
Jerome and Beyondp. 102
Conclusionp. 104
Stoic and Cynic Elements in 1 Corinthians 7p. 105
A "Cynic" Position for Married Christians: 7:1-7p. 107
Marriage out of Passion: 7:8-9p. 128
Marriage as Slavery to an Outside Influence: 7:10-24p. 129
The Unholiness of a Non-Christian Spouse as Grounds for Divorce (7:10-15a)p. 129
Marriage to an Unbeliever as a Form of Slavery (7:15b-24)p. 145
Paul's Argument against Marriage by Reason of Adverse Circumstances: 7:25-28p. 169
Apocalyptic "Circumstances": 7:29-31p. 174
The Commitments of Married Life and Finding Time for the Lord: 7:32-35p. 193
Good and Better, Sin and Blessedness: 7:36-40p. 202
A Nonascetic Interpretation of Paulp. 207
Paul's Audience in 1 Corinthians 7p. 208
Paul's Understanding of Marriage and Celibacyp. 210
Preliminary Considerationsp. 210
Marriage and Celibacy for Married Christiansp. 213
Marriage and Celibacy for Single Christiansp. 214
Paul in the History of Christian Asceticismp. 216
Antipater of Tarsus, from His On Marriage, SVF 3.254.23-257.10 (Stobaeis 4.507.6-512.7 W.-H.)p. 221
Ocellus Lucanus: On the Nature of the Universe [Spurious] 43b-51p. 231
Works Citedp. 238
Indexes
Selected Names and Subjectsp. 264
Selected Scripture Referencesp. 267
Selected Greek Words and Phrasesp. 270
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780802839893
ISBN-10: 0802839894
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 271
Published: November 2003
Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.57 x 16.0  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.43
Edition Number: 2